Online Blackjack Game Types
Online Blackjack Game Types
Blackjack is unquestionably one of the most popular games at any online casino. The ease in which the basic rules can be picked up and the fact it’s one of few casino games that skill can be applied, make it a mouth-watering proposition.
Throughout this article, we wanted to look at the different blackjack games types that are now widely accessible across a range of online casinos.
All of the variations of blackjack that we talk about in this article come from the foundations of what is known as “classic blackjack”. For the majority of these games the rules and how the game flows will resemble classic blackjack, so it makes sense for us to start here.
The concept of the game is to score more than the dealer, up to 21, without going over. The game can include lots of moving parts, but this is essentially what it all comes down to.
When playing you’re either going to be sat at a table on your own (most likely) or you’re going to be surrounded by a handful of other players. You can access classic blackjack via live casino blackjack games as well.
Games start with the player entering their stake before the dealer gives two cards that are face up. They will also deal themselves one card face up. Cards will have a numerical value that will be based on the face number. So, a 2 is worth 2 points, 3 worth three points and so on. Face cards are all worth 10 and an Ace is worth either 1 or 11 (the player can choose)
The action will be on the player, to begin with and they can take several decisions at this point. The most common with be to stand (keep the cards you’ve got) or to hit (take an extra card to try to improve the score).
A player can hit as many times as they like, but if they go over 21 then, the hand will be dead, and they will lose their bet. If they are dealt an Ace with a card that is worth 10, this is called blackjack. The house will payout instantly, usually at odds of 3:2.
Once all actions have been completed, the dealer then turns over their second face card. There will be table rules as to the actions they must then take. This is usually standing on 17, hit on 16, but can vary based on house rules.
The player will win if their score is higher than the dealers or the dealer goes bust. The player will lose if their score is lower. If scores are tied, the hand will be a “push” and the player gets their money back.
The world of progressive jackpots is one that has been extremely popular with online slots. It allows players to bet small, add tiny sums of the over stake into a separate pot, all for the chance of winning life-changing sums of money if they strike it lucky.
Progressive blackjack works in much the same way.
Before we dive into the meat of this, we wanted to point out that progressive blackjack is not a betting system. This is not a process where you change betting styles or amounts based on a run of hands. This is a common misconception with the game type and we wanted to jump on this early.
The platform is one where the player can make a side bet with each round that gets pooled into a progressive jackpot. The regular game plays out just as it would, but the player can voluntarily choose to play the side game which is linked to the main game.
To win the side bet they need to get lucky with a certain combination of hands. To trigger any payout they need an Ace in their hand. This will payout at around 3:1.
Payouts increase as the hand combinations increase in difficulty. Jackpot hands include:
- Pair of non-suited Aces
- Pair of suited Aces
- 3 non-suited Aces
- 3 suited Aces
- 4 Aces
- 4 Aces of the same colour (this will usually be the jackpot combination)
Jackpots will range based on the casino you use and the network that the jackpot is on. They usually start around the £20,000 mark, but they can often reach more than £100,000 with some of the more popular casino networks.
As most know, the house edge for blackjack is very low compared to most games, assuming players are adopting a perfect strategy. If you were to play the blackjack game with this option, but not place the bet, the house edge would not change.
However, when you place the bet it increases from around 0.5% to 2.5%. The side bet on its own comes with a staggering house edge of 40%, which makes it almost the same as putting the lottery on. These level out in the grand scheme of blackjack, but it’s still notable. House edge will reduce when the jackpot amount increases.
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Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City blackjack is one of the most favourable formats of the game for players. The reason is that it comes with an incredibly small house edge, much lower than some of the other variations that we are going to mention in this article.
The game was derived in Atlantic City and was their attempt to lure big gamblers away from the. Bright lights of Las Vegas as they set up to create their own gambling Mecca.
They did this by offering what was called an “early surrender” within their classic blackjack games. This would be where the player was able to surrender their cards and half of their stake (retuning half back to them) based on what cards the dealer had and before the dealer peaking.
This created a game that had a tiny house edge and actually lost many casinos a lot of money. It was adapted to offer what is now known as Late Surrender. This is where the player can still forfeit their hand, but only after the dealer has peeked for blackjack.
In terms of the rules of the game, they remain very similar to that of classic blackjack. The dealer draws on 16, stands on 17+. Players can double down on any hand and split any pair. Blackjack pays 3:2 and insurance pays 2:1 with any dealer Ace.
One of the negatives with Atlantic City Blackjack is that they use up to 8 decks, meaning that the house edge does increase a little over a classic game. However, as we stated, this is negated with late surrender and tweaks in basic rules.
It is worth noting that with these tweaks a perfect blackjack strategy will change. There are hand charts that you can use but you need to be able to find out the table rules and make sure they line up with the hand chart, as this is not always the case.
Spanish 21 is one of the most exciting versions of blackjack you can play. They’ve taken the traditional game and include several pretty epic twits, making it a haven for the adrenaline junkies of an online casino.
Changes are made straight from the set-up of the game. Six decks are piled into the shoe. However, all of the 10 cards are removed from each deck. This means that 4 cards from each deck are missing, with 24 in total from the shoe.
What this then does is lower the chances of hitting big hands with fewer cards. Low cards are the player's friends here and they more they can cram into a hand, the better.
With that in mind, the following combinations are paid in Spanish 21:
- 5-card hand = 3/2
- 6-card hand = 2/1
- 7-card hand = 3/1
- 21 with any three sevens = 3/2
- 21 with 6-7-8 = 3/2
- 21 with three sevens of same suit = 2/1
- 21 with three sevens, the dealer has fourth seven = 50/1
Rules for the game can differ depending on where you are playing, but they generally include double after splitting allowed, late surrender allowed, player 21 always wins, player blackjack beats dealer blackjack, the player may double on any number of cards and bonuses paid based on the amount the player stakes.
The excitement of the game comes at a price and like most casino games, this comes in the form of the house edge. You go from around 0.5% for a classic blackjack game, up to a best-case scenario of 2.99% and worst case 3.63% (based on the number of decks in the shoe).
Whilst the increase in the house edge is not good, it is a really fun game to play and certainly freshens things up from the standard format. Make sure you note the number of decks in the shoe before you start playing. 8 is the magic number here!
When we talk about cheating in blackjack, one of the ways that you can do this is trade cards with the player next to you. Online this is obviously impossible, but there has been a game that is set up on similar pretences which are perfectly legal to play. That game, Blackjack Switch.
For the most part, the game is set up in the same way that other blackjack games are. However, it allows players to trade one card from another hand they are playing at the table to create a better combination of results.
It all starts with the player having to play two hands at the table. They will need to place separate bets for each hand and will be dealt two cards to each hand.
The game then allows the player to trade the second (and only the second) card with their other hand to create a better value for their score. Once the trade has been made (optional decision) then the hands play out just as any other game would, before going up against the dealer.
However, whilst this all sounds too good to be true, there is a twist. In fact, there are several. The main one is that the dealer can play up to scores of 22, rather than a traditional 21 value. The player plays to just 21.
Other rules for the game include that if a dealer makes 22, all other hands, including blackjack are marked as a push. They can only bust on 23 or higher. Blackjack will pay even money for the player, instead of a traditional 3:2 payout.
There are a couple of other rules, which do vary from casino to casino. Most games will require the dealer to hit a soft 17 and players can double on any two cards and double after a split.
Pontoon is an Australian version of blackjack. The game is played in the UK as well, but the rules for each are slightly different. The first things to note with the game is the terminology. This includes terms like “twist” for hit, “stick” for stand and “buy” for double down.
In the game, the dealer will not have any of their cards turned face up. This is different from the original game where they would have one card face up, which obviously has a big effect on how the hands play out.
The game has certain rules for the player's hands and any score of 14 or less will require them to twist and take an extra card. It’s only when their hand is scored at 15 or more can they decide to stick.
Players will be allowed to double down or buy a card at any point. So, they can twist, then buy and then twist again, if they like. The dealer will also win on any ties in the game, unlike the original game where they would be a push and the player would get their stake back.
What the game adds for the player are several bonus payouts. Blackjack will payout at 2:1 instead of 3:2 offering massive value as a result. They will also get a bonus payout for a five-card trick, which is any combination of 5 cards that are scored at 21 or lower. This pays out at 2:1 as well.
Pontoon will also allow players to split aces, something that is not always possible in regular blackjack. This means that they can plausibly create two blackjack hands, both paying 2:1 if successful and they hold against a dealer’s hand.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Perfect Pairs is now one of the more popular variations of blackjack that you can access online. The game is now widely available and most of these have been converted to mobile casinos mobile casinos as well.
Its foundations come from a standard blackjack game and you can use the classic version that we spoke about at the start of the article. This game works the same but includes a side bet which is called Perfect Pairs.
This side bet is totally optional, and you do not have to play it. But, if you decide to play it, then you will be rewarded any time a pair has been dealt with you.
Payouts will depend on the type of pair that you are dealt. There are three in total, which include:
- Perfect Pair – Same value, same suit – Usually pays around 30 to 1
- Coloured Pair – Same value, same colour, different suit – Usually pays around 12 to 1
- Mixed Pair – Same value, different colour, different suit – Usually pays around 5 to 1
It’s worth noting that face value cards are not classed as pairs. For example, in blackjack, a Jack and a Queen both have the same face value of 10. But for this bet, given they are different cards class, they will not qualify for a perfect pair payout.
The popularity of the game is because of the ease of the side bet. It also offers decent value in terms of the house edge, although this will increase if you play this side bet over the regular house edge for blackjack.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
Vegas Strip is a game that shot to fame in the bright lights of Las Vegas. It’s now made its way into the online sector and is a game that most of the bigger online casinos will stock.
The rules for the game run very close to that of standard blackjack and only tweaks are made to differentiate the two. This is one of the main reasons why so many people play it as it’s so familiar to many.
Two key rule changes need to be noted for the Vegas Strip. The first is that a dealer has to stand on any 17, including a soft 17. This means they are limited as to which hands they can draw to in an attempt to improve their hand.
The other notable change is that players can split their hands up to four times. This includes any combination of hands, apart from a pair of Aces that can only be split once. Splitting so many times has the ability to make some massive pots. The game will also payout at 3:2 for any blackjack hit from these split hands.
There is a massive caveat with this game though and that is with the payout of blackjack. Some will pay out at odds of 6:5 which are terrible for the player. This can move the house edge up to as much as 2%, which is still small but 4x bigger than the standard game. Make sure you shop around for payouts at 3:2 as they are out there.
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Double Attack Blackjack
Double Attack blackjack has come about from Atlantic city where they decided to tweak the rules of the classic game to come up with something a little different. In fact, this game is linked closer to Spanish 21 than it is the classic game, given that they remove the 10 cards to have 48 card decks.
The biggest change in the game is that the player is allowed to double their bet once they have seen the dealers up card. This is something that usually wouldn’t be allowed in blackjack but works well for this format.
To do this, the dealer is dealt the first card, and this is then face up. Players must have placed their bet before the dealer deals their card to signify, they are in the game and then will get a chance to double this bet based on their card.
The game then plays out as most classic games would, but again, there are a few tweaks. Blackjack will only pay even money and these bets will be a push if the dealer also has blackjack.
Players can split and double down if they wish. Any double down bets must be made at the double attack stake if they have chosen to play this way. For example, if the initial bet was 1 unit and they decide to Double Attack, then a double down or split would have to be 2 units to represent the increased stake.
Most casino games will include a side bet called “Bust It’. The bet is just as the name suggests, allowing players to place a side bet that pays out of the dealer busts with three cards.
Payouts for this will depend on the hand that the dealer has. A suited 888 hand will be the biggest payout at 200 to 1, working down to a face card that is worth 3 to 1.
Double Exposure Blackjack
Double Exposure blackjack changes everything that we are taught about the classic game. What we learn is that we must beat the dealer by trying to anticipate what potential cards they might have and then how our decisions can improve our own hand.
However, in Double Exposure games, the dealers two hole-cards are both dealt face up. This means that you can see exactly what they have and what you need to do to beat them, for the most part at least.
The game obviously doesn’t allow players to get away that easily and with it come several rules that need to be applied to the game. One of the main rules is the payout when a player gets blackjack. This would usually be 3:2 but in this format, it’s simply even money. In fact, all bets that are winning ones are paid out as even money, regardless of the combination.
The dealer is also going to take any ties as a win. Usually, a tie (both hands on the same score) would mean the player gets their stake back, but not in this game. You need to beat them to get paid.
Depending on where you play will also usually limit the hands that you able to double down on. You will most commonly find the double down feature only accessible to hands with a hard 9, 10 or 11. Also, if you split aces then you only get one additional card per split.
The house edge for these games will increase for the dealer ever so slightly. Usually, it’s around 0.67%, up from 0.5% from the classic game. As with all blackjack variations, the house edge is depending on the strategy used by the player and assumes they make the right call 100% of the time.
Triple Sevens Jackpot
Jackpot games for blackjack are becoming increasingly popular and none more so than the Triple Sevens. The game comes in two formats, one with a standard jackpot and one with a progressive game. The progressive games are the bigger ones and can have jackpots worth more than £1million on certain networks.
The game works in the same way that a classic blackjack game would. The only difference is that you are double your starting bet based on the dealers up card if you like. With this, you sacrifice the blackjack payout from 2:1 to 1:1.
But the main part of the game is all about the side bet. This is where you can bet on the number of 7’s that you get in a single hand. The more you have that are suited, the higher the payout will be.
- Any 7 = 5:1
- First two cards 7 = 25:1
- First two cards 7 of the same suit = 50:1
- First three cards 7 = 250:1
- First three cards 7 of same suit = 100:1 or progressive jackpot win if playing these games.
The chase for the seven makes the game very interesting and you often see players throw out any sort of strategy as they chase the bigger jackpot prizes.
Super Fun 21
Super Fun 21 is just as the name suggests and with it comes a lot of moving parts. It’s all adapted from the classic game but it’s great fun to play as there are so many more ways that the player can win.
The downside to the game and the first thing to note is that blackjack will be paid at even money instead of 2:1. However, if you have two diamonds in your blackjack hand, the game will pay at the standard 2:1.
Any pair can be split in the game up to four times and this includes Aces. You are also able to double Aces as well, even after they have been split, allowing for huge combination hands.
Surrender will be offered to players after they have hit and number of cards. This will pay out half of the original stake and cannot be done if a hand has been split or doubled down.
A six-card-Charlie is applied to the game as well. This means that any combination of six cards will pay out as an automatic winner. Also, any hand of 21 that includes five or more cards will payout at 2:1.
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